Thursday, June 9, 2011

If you teach a child to sew, she will stay warm for a lifetime.....

My nine year old granddaughter has shown an interest in sewing recently.  I needed to make a quick trip to Wal-mart this week and she went with me.  I thought she would head for the toy aisle, the DVD aisle, or the electronics, but no - she headed straight for the craft department and started browsing through the materials and laces.  I asked her what she was looking for and what she planned to make.  "Will you teach me to sew, MawMaw", she asked.  Now mind you, she didn't ask me that because she had seen me hard at work over a sewing machine time and time again.  I can't remember the last time I sat down at a sewing machine, but when I did, I realized my $99 machine was broken.  I probably forgot to oil it or whatever you do to sewing machines if you don't use them but once every five years.  But she had seen me hand stitching and mending recently so she thought I was the perfect person to teach her to sew.

I told her I would love to teach her to sew by hand but that I didn't think she was ready for a machine yet.  Quick thinking, Grandma!  She was thrilled - I was glad because if she had insisted on a sewing machine I would have had to send her to her other Grandma and I'm not sure Carol can sew either.  I sure didn't want to miss out on all the fun of sewing with her.

Today was the big day.  She and I gathered some scrap material - which I buy all the time because I know in my heart that someday I'm going to invest in a large NEW sewing machine and start sewing like a madwoman - cranking out quilts, doll dresses and all the other things grandmas are supposed to do.  We got out thread, needles, scissors and a thimble that we didn't use.   I've always heard the old saying, "If you give a child a blanket, he will stay warm for a day, but if you teach a child to sew a blanket, he will stay warm for a lifetime."   It was too warm out to work on a blanket, but I taught her a few basic stitches and she was ready to start on a cloth pocketbook.  She designed it, we cut it out and then she learned the first thing every seamstress needs to know - how to take things back apart when you've made a mess. 
She's really concentrating on that really sharp needle.
She's taking this very seriously.


And after a little help from Grandma, the finished product turned out like this.  It's red with a blue handle. The slip pocket in front is trimmed with red and blue plaid ribbon and a button.  And right above the pocket is a little embroidered cherry or strawberry looking thing.  Pretty good  for her first sewing project, don't you think?  Next we'll start working on her wedding dress.  It will take us that long to finish it.


  1. Its me - Jane I've tried posting this twice so third time lucky ... lovely post! Like you I have hoards of scraps stashed away for that day when my life is moving at a steadier pace

  2. Love that she wants to learn to sew and she did a fabulous job on that bag...Does not look like a first time project at all...She is a natural.

    It really is a shame they removed this basic skill from our schools...I don't care how outdated ppl think a woman sewing is, it is a skill we should have...I make a pretty good little side income from my self taught sewing skills...and I am only 37yrs old so it aint no "grand ma" thing lol...I can't wait for my lil Sara to be old enough to handle the needle.

  3. Jane, it's wonderful that you are able to post comments again - it's been good getting email messages from you, but I've missed your comments on here. I love fabrics! I like to imagine what they could be with a stitch here and a stitch there. Kelsie, I agree that they should still have sewing in school. I loved Home Economics back in my high school years - we made aprons and skirts and had such a fun time doing it in a group setting with friends. It's wonderful that you're using your sewing skills for extra income and I'm sure you'll enjoy passing on your talent to Sara.

  4. A lovely post Glenda, and your granddaughter - with a little help from you - made such a lovely job of her bag. Thanks for stopping by my raccoon post. They can be rather naughty can't they :)

  5. What a lovely way to share with your granddaughter. It is a skill that she will value for a life time. I learned to sew about her age; it was the only way I could have the kinds of clothes that I wanted given my families limited income. By the time I was in my late 20's I was good enough to tailor wool the wool suit that I wore for all my college professor job interviews. And I did make my own wedding dress (at least for my first wedding).

  6. Thanks for your comments Denise - and Sue, I never got past making simple dresses for my children. I remember making my oldest a white dress when she graduated kindergarten - and I made the grandchildren some doll quilts once, but that was about the limit of my ability. My wedding dress was handmade by a friend of our family and much prettier than any I could have purchased.

  7. Oh, how wonderful for her to have motivation!!!
    She must have had a valuable time with you and I'm sure it will be a nice memory for her.

    Haha, machine always hates me. Every time I face with it for a simple altering work, it has some troubles^^;)

    Thank you for your encouraging comment for me. I'm a tiny woman and always have trouble finding clothes.
    Love, xoxo Orchid.

  8. Orchid, you are so fortunate that you are a tiny woman. Many of us would love to have that problem :) It seems that through the years when I did have a "working" sewing machine, it would be temperamental at best - always some little problems.

  9. I love that photo, My Mom made quilts for us and we never wanted for warmth. Years later I picked up on her quilting and wanted to make one for each of my family members. When I called her to talk abour corners she said, "You know I never knew why you girls never quilted but I think all of you do now." Well I can tell her it was not necessary then and we knew she kept us covered as we aged we realized the value of her hard labor and wanted to continue her legacy. All four of us now make quilts, or Three now with Little Jeanette gone.

  10. Sue, my Mom also made quilts, crocheted, knitted and all kinds of wonderful domestic stuff. Regretfully, I did not have any interest in these things at the time and I lost her when I was in my thirties. Since I've retired, I've learned to knit a little. I can sew simple things - which is all I really need to know I guess. But I would love to make a quilt with all the fabric that I have collected and I don't know where to begin.

  11. Good on ya, Grandma! I taught my daughter to sew by hand and by machine. We made a simple skirt with an elastic, and she was the talk of the town. A beautiful art that I hope won't be lost.


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